Upfront or Induction Chemotherapy

What is Upfront or Induction Chemotherapy?

Drug treatment that is given before surgery or radiation therapy is called ‘upfront’ or ‘induction’ chemotherapy. This treatment is given to make the tumour smaller before you have surgery or radiation therapy. Upfront chemotherapy (also known as ‘neoadjuvant’ chemotherapy) can also be given as the main form of treatment (primary chemotherapy).

Why do you need Upfront or Induction Chemotherapy?

In some patients, the tumour may be very large, making surgery or radiation therapy difficult. Removing a large tumour could damage some of the healthy tissues in the organ. Shrinking the tumour before the operation helps your surgeon to protect the healthy tissues. The drugs can travel through the blood vessels to the tumour more easily before surgery. The operation will be less stressful, and your recovery will be easier.

Your surgeon can also measure the response of the tumour to your chemotherapy if it is given before other treatments. Knowing how you respond to the drugs is important because not all chemotherapy drugs work the same for all patients. If the drugs do not work as well for you as for some other patients, or cause side effects, they can be stopped and a different drug can be given.

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